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Using Notation Software: Finale, MuseScore, and Sibelius

Getting Started: Choosing an Entry Method

There are four main ways to enter notes in Siblelius: Mouse Entry, Alphabetic Input, Step-Time Entry and Flexi-Time input.




Mouse Entry: One note at a time

(the point and click method)

It’s the most intuitive way of entering notes, but it can also take the most time. Mouse Entry is good for making quick fixes and attending to small details, but don't slog through an entire excercise using this method. Take a look at Alphabetic Input to speed things up a little.


Alphabetic Input: Using keyboard shortcuts

One way to speed up the process is by adding your computer keyboard to the mix. Included in this guide are some of the most handy keyboard shortcuts to shave some time off your note entry and help reduce the confusion that comes from switching between palettes and tools. (See Step-Time Entry for a faster way to get large amounts done) 

Step-Time Entry: Using a Midi keyboard to select pitches

(but not playing it in time)

Tired of finding the note names on the keyboard? Wish you could make use of your piano skills? Come to the Music Library and use our MIDI keyboards to speed up your note entry. This method is great for efficiently entering notes and then adding the details in later with the Mouse Entry tools. Step-Time Entry allows you to select the pitches on a MIDI keyboard and lets you more quickly enter phrases. You do need to have a basic understanding of a piano keyboard layout for it to work for you.


Flexi-Time Input: Using a MIDI keyboard to play your composition in real time

(then going back to fix what the computer got wrong)

This allows you to use a MIDI keyboard to select pitches & note durations, but be warned, you have to be very exact in your playing and will likely have to go back and clean up what you wrote. The computer will enter whatever you play, even if you think you're playing a half note, it may interpret it as a double dotted quarter. This is a fast method, once you get used to it and is good for composers looking for a program to dictate as they improvise. However, it takes a lot of practice, very good keyboard skills, and will always require clean-up after the notes are entered.